If you bump into someone, you usually say “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.” When someone is speaking, you don’t cut them off to say something.
More than likely, you learned these unwritten social rules when you were very young and quickly understood when and how to follow them. But some kids just don’t pick up on social rules or cues. They need extra help learning them.
Here are five social rules that can be challenging for kids—and tips to help your child understand and follow them.
Social Rule #1: Meet and greet politely.
Say greetings, introductions, and goodbyes.
Politely offer and receive compliments.
Be able to start and finish conversations.
Social Rule #2: Take turns talking.
Social Rule #3: Pay attention to others.
Stop what you’re doing so you can listen.
Read people’s emotions through their body language and facial expressions.
Change your behavior to match what other people are doing, such as quieting down with the rest of the room.
Social Rule #4: Think about others before acting.
Social Rule #5: Cooperate with others.
Follow directions when you’re asked to.
Ask for help when you need it.
Apologize when necessary.
Be flexible and open to new ideas.
See a teen describe what it feels like to struggle with unwritten social rules.
How to Help Your Child Follow Social Rules
You can start by breaking down social rules in ways your child can understand and practice.
Role-playing games are a good way to model behavior and help your child practice responding to different social situations. You can also
use your child’s favorite TV shows to focus on reading body language and other